A 35-year-old Phoenix man who was accused of killing his mother and stepfather is now being held on suspicion of seven additional killings, announced the Phoenix Police Department on Thursday.
Cleophus Cooksey Jr. is accused of murdering nine Arizona residents in a three-week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2017. Police haven’t ruled out the possibility of additional victims, reported AZCentral.com.
Cooksey was first arrested on Dec. 17 after the double shooting of his mother and stepfather was reported to police.
Just two days later, Phoenix police, with the help new ballistics technology, determined Cooksey was likely responsible for "several homicides" which occurred in the preceding weeks, according to court records.
Police announced Cooksey would face charges for the seven additional killings during a press conference.
"To solve nine homicides in a period of three weeks is outstanding," said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, Phoenix police spokesman, during a news conference Thursday.
There is no clear connection between the victims as they come from different demographic and geographic areas.
In one case, Cooksey is accused of abducting a woman in Glendale, sexually assaulting and killing her and then dumping her body in south Phoenix.
Cooksey is also accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend’s brother twice in the head while he slept.
Some of the victims appear to be random, including one victim who was killed while allegedly trying to sell Cooksey marijuana.
In one occasion, Cooksey allegedly impersonated one victim's cousin just moments after shooting him. While in disguise, he reportedly went as far as to alert a Glendale police officer to the location of the body.
Police used ballistics testing on Cooksey's gun and compared the information to other crime scenes. This recently implemented technology was made possible by the National Crime Gun Intelligence Center.
Investigators on Thursday recommended Cooksey be charged with seven additional murder counts along with charges of prohibited possession of a firearm, armed robbery and sexual assault.
Cooksey has denied committing the murders.
(Photo: Arizona Department of Corrections)